At about the 1:09:30 mark, White says there are numbers of ecclesiastical text positions because the teaching is vague purposefully. That is extreme overstatement. White should know and I believe does know that the fundamentals of this position, which is biblical and historical, are found in the historic confessions of faith and in the writings of the contemporaries of those confessions. These kinds of statements are strategic for his followers. I believe he feigns this kind of incredulity.
It is true that of those who hold what is being called the ecclesiastical text position, not everyone will agree on every single word of the New Testament text translated by the KJV committee. They all agree in the preservation of all the Words and that all the Words must have been kept pure in all ages like the confession says. That narrows it down to very few differences. They believe there is a settled text, one already established, given testimony by the Holy Spirit through the church, just like He did the canon. They all agree every word is important, but disagreement over a few words is vastly different than post-enlightenment, rationalistic textual criticism.
There was a uniformity for numerous generations in the belief that God has preserved every word, all of them, and made them available for every generation of believer. Among the very few differences over a very harmonious, homogeneous text, they agreed on the doctrine. Even when there was a movement toward replacing this view, it started in academia, not in the churches, in the pew. There still may be a majority of professing believers who think they have a perfect Bible and haven't even grasped what is happening. They are just thinking that someone has modernized the translation without knowing the underlying text was replaced -- a bait and switch.
The few differences between words in TR editions couldn't be and wouldn't be spun into an ejection of the entire text for a new one and a wholly different approach. That wasn't faith in what God said. That was doubt or uncertainty. If this is going to be argued, those people and that position need to be represented in good faith. White doesn't do that. He stirs up a dust cloud of confusion for people.
After 1:10, White says that "as far as we know" there was never a church counsel and that the Westminster divines didn't examine manuscripts. There's a lot to unpack just in those few points. If you listen to White other times, you know he doesn't agree that canonicity of the books of the Bible comes out of church counsels. He sees this as a Roman Catholic view. I agree. He says the canon is a theological issue. With that belief, why does he apply a different standard here to the Words? He will refer to the Protestant canon. He doesn't have a problem saying that. They didn't need a counsel, because there was agreement. I don't agree that these men didn't look at manuscripts. When you read John Owen, you know he looked at them. White is conflating examination of manuscripts with rationalistic criticism of the text. Consider what Richard Capel wrote in 1658:
[W]e have the Copies in both languages [Hebrew and Greek], which Copies vary not from Primitive writings in any matter which may stumble any. This concernes onely the learned, and they know that by consent of all parties, the most learned on all sides among Christians do shake hands in this, that God by his providence hath preserved them uncorrupt. . . . As God committed the Hebrew text of the Old Testament to the Jewes, and did and doth move their hearts to keep it untainted to this day: So I dare lay it on the same God, that he in his providence is so with the Church of the Gentiles, that they have and do preserve the Greek Text uncorrupt, and clear: As for some scrapes by Transcribers, that comes to no more, than to censure a book to be corrupt, because of some scrapes in the printing, and 'tis certain, that what mistake is in one print, is corrected in another.
That well states their thinking, thinking that is not held or agreed upon by White. He rejects the historic and biblical position because he staggers at the promise of God through unbelief (Romans 4:20). White chooses theological presuppositions for canonicity, when the biblical basis for those same theological presuppositions applies equally to the text. Textual variants are too great a hurdle, a barrier, and he stumbles over them. He rejects the historic and biblical position and is willing to make hundreds of years of believers bibliological apostates to justify his position.
If you want to talk about vagueness, shortly before the 1:11 mark, White says that the Westminster divines would not have known what the text looked like at the beginning of the medieval period, like we do today. I'm speaking of the idea of "what the text looked like." How vague is that? Are we talking about one hand copy, about the numbers of manuscripts that existed? "What the text looked like"? "The text"? Like there was "the text" making it's way through history?
What White does is extrapolate back from the 19th century some kind of ongoing textual criticism through history, rather than an ongoing faith that God has preserved every Word, the attitude that believers would have always had in the Bible. We know they had the latter and White ridicules that. It's as if in the 16th century after the advent of the printing press and a sudden explosion of publication of scripture that believers reached a bibliological dark age -- as if when they had more access to the Bible than ever, they were as dark on the doctrine of scripture as they had ever been.
White also talks at around 1:11 like he knows "what the text looked like" in the beginning of the fourth century and at the beginning of the sixth century. He asserts that he knows and that those men didn't. But he doesn't, at least through textual criticism. He doesn't know that. He's only guessing. White doesn't know what they had or didn't have then by some historical or documentary means. We know by faith, but not by looking at what someone unburied. Those are guesses, and that is vague. I would say as vague as one could get, but one can get even more vague than White if he takes the same trajectory as White to its dubious end. White's approach is highly destructive. It is faith smothering. It is also dishonoring to God. As much as White would want to keep salvation 100% divine with almost no human intervention, he's willing to throw the Bible into a test tube for man's experimentation. Sovereignty becomes ironically a very taffy-like concept.
Shortly before 1:12, White goes apoplectic over a strawman that he erects, at most an entertaining bit of theater on his part. He holds up a Trinitarian Bible society copy of the TR and asks when did they take that and agree on that, then he grabs a Nestles-Aland in his other hand asks when did they reject that? What are White's assertions supposed to mean to someone? He is ridiculing that entire several generations of believers as some kind of theological and intellectual neanderthals. White is a tower, a monument, a giant, while they are rolling out the baby toys in the nursery.
White is making two points. First, he doesn't have record that there was an ecumenical counsel of believers that got together to vote on what the words were. That is supposed to debunk an ecclesiastical text position. There is no record of that happening because that isn't what Christians believed. They received what they had. They believed they were in good shape. White is saying they weren't, but he's basing that on his presuppositions, that the text had been lost to them.
Second, they didn't textus rejectus, that is, they didn't again hold some counsel to reject the minority manuscripts. The ecclesiastical position is that however that did occur, either that they didn't have it or they did know about it and they saw it as inferior, it did occur. What looks to White as unavailable was rejected because of its lack of availability. God's Words were kept pure through all ages, so if they didn't have it, there was a reason. If you believe in the preservation of scripture, then what you don't have isn't preserved. That's kind of root to the idea of preservation. If I look into the refrigerator for the jelly and there's no jelly, then jelly wasn't preserved for me. I'm sorry I can't go into physical incantations as you read this so that my entertainment value can trump White's, because that is the best thing he's got going, that is, if you like that kind of thing.
White also argues from silence. He says they, the Westminster folks, would have known about Calvin. Known what? They would have known that Calvin said he believed that one particular word was the right one above another, both available to him. That was not an "aha" moment to them, as White portrays it should have been. They couldn't figure that out? The existence of a textual variant didn't shake them. That wasn't a lack of preservation to them. Not only would men make errors in hand copies, but they also know that there would be purposeful textual attack. They still believe in perfect preservation of the Words, because they believed preservation was a divine task, like inspiration and salvation. White believes God can save you from all your sins, He can preserve you through the heights and the depths, but He couldn't do the same for His own Words. That is in fact where White is in this.
Around 1:13, White says that in 1689 they would not have known about the Trinitarian Bible society printed edition of Scrivener. Total strawman. That's not the position. The translators translated from words. They translated. They were translators. Those words were available. They were kept pure in that age. They believed that. That's the position. This is a game White is playing. Understand that. White is playing a game. When I read the books from that era, they often refer to the original language text. Did they not believe they had an original language text? When they wrote the LBC in 1689, they referred to the original language text. Was there one? Of course there was. This is again just rhetoric from White. It's not dealing with their doctrine, what they believed. It's just dramatics, a show really. If you agree with White, you are at least in tacit compliance to him, and you are a subscriber to his show, really like a reality TV show with a false front town.
More to Come. I know I'm going snail pace, but this matters.